Unlike many domestic airlines with hub-and-spoke systems in the U.S., Emirates is a long-haul carrier with routes to and from its Dubai headquarters. This central location in the Middle East makes it an ideal connecting point between North America and destinations in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. It’s not a bad choice to visit Europe either, if you’re originating on the West Coast.
Emirates’ ability to invest in the newest and largest aircraft — as well as sumptuous on-board amenities such as showers and a walk-up bar – provide its customers with one of the best premium-cabin experiences. However, some aircraft are better choices than others. You’ll want to consider flying from different cities or at different times when redeeming your miles in order to get the best value. Here, we review the number of premium-cabin seats on each aircraft type and the frequency of service to different North American gateways. (Schedules are subject to change.)
Airbus A380 vs. Boeing 777
The gargantuan Airbus A380 will always be the best pick. With two showers in the first-class cabin and a glittering bar between first and business class, it has the necessary space to offer every possible luxury. Choose from 14 enclosed first-class suites or 76 flat-bed business-class seats on each flight.
Emirates also operates the Boeing 777-300ER and 777-200LR in several cities that don’t require the A380’s larger capacity. First class still offers eight private suites in either aircraft, but there are no showers. Business class has other drawbacks: their 42 “lie flat” seats may recline a full 180 degrees but do not lie horizontal. Instead they are oriented at a slight angle that can be uncomfortable for some travelers. These business-class cabins are also more cramped, with seven seats per row in a 2-3-2 arrangement, rather than the more spacious 1-2-1 configuration used on the A380.
Booking Connecting Flights for Emirates Award Travel
Many people use the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan to book award travel on Emirates because Alaska is its only North American partner. Earning and redeeming Emirates Skywards points is much more difficult, and Emirates is not a transfer partner with any major credit card issuer.
Keep in mind that when redeeming miles, Alaska only permits connecting flights on Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air. They operate flights to nearly all of Emirates’ North American gateways (excluding Toronto) from the West Coast. If you live elsewhere, you may need to book a separate positioning flight using a different carrier.
Destinations in North American Served by the Airbus A380
These flights have two on-board showers for first class, a bar between the first- and business-class cabins, and fully horizontal flat-bed seats in business class. Each A380 has 14 seats in first class and 76 seats in business class.
New York (JFK)
New York has four daily flights to Dubai and Milan.
New York (JFK) to Dubai (DXB)
|EK202||Daily||23:00||20:15 (+1 day)|
|EK204||Daily||10:40||08:10 (+1 day)|
|EK208||Daily||16:35||14:05 (+1 day)|
Dubai (DXB) to New York (JFK)
New York (JFK) to Milan (MXP)
|EK206||Daily||22:20||12:05 (+1 day)|
Milan (MXP) to New York (JFK)
Los Angeles (LAX)
Los Angeles has one daily flight to Dubai, increasing to two daily flights on July 1, 2016.
Schedule through March 26, 2016:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Dubai (DXB)
|EK216||Daily||15:35||19:35 (+1 day)|
Dubai (DXB) to Los Angeles (LAX)
Schedule on/after March 27, 2016, including a second flight beginning July 1, 2016:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Dubai (DXB)
|EK216||Daily||16:45||19:35 (+1 day)|
|EK218||Daily||22:30||01:30 (+2 days)|
Dubai (DXB) to Los Angeles (LAX)
San Francisco (SFO)
San Francisco has one daily flight to Dubai.
San Francisco (SFO) to Dubai (DXB)
|EK226||Daily||15:40||19:25 (+1 day)|
Dubai (DXB) to San Francisco (SFO)
Dallas has one daily flight to Dubai.
Dallas (DFW) to Dubai (DXB)
|EK222||Daily||11:25||11:55 (+1 day)|
Dubai (DXB) to Dallas (DFW)
Houston has one daily flight to Dubai.
Houston (IAH)to Dubai (DXB)
|EK212||Daily||18:20||19:05 (+1 day)|
Dubai (DXB) to Houston (IAH)
Washington has one daily flight to Dubai, which will be upgraded from a Boeing 777-300ER to an Airbus A380 as of February 1, 2016.
Washington (IAD) to Dubai (DXB)
|EK232||Daily||10:15||08:00 (+1 day)|
Dubai (DXB) to Washington (IAD)
Toronto (YYZ) – 1 flight on M/W/F
Toronto is the only North American gateway that does not have daily service. Emirates operates three flights each week.
Toronto (YYZ) to Dubai (DXB)
|EK242||M/W/F||21:40||19:25 (+1 day)|
Dubai (DXB) to Toronto (IAD)
Destinations in North American Served by the Boeing 777-300ER or 777-200LR
These flights have no showers for first class and no bar, although the first-class suites are still enclosed. Business-class seats are flat but may lie at a slight angle to the floor. Each Boeing 777 has eight seats in first class and 42 seats in business class.
Seattle has two daily flights to Dubai. The morning departure is operated with a Boeing 777-200LR, and the evening departure operated with a Boeing 777-300ER.
Seattle (SEA) to Dubai (DXB)
|EK228||Daily||9:00||11:30 (+1 day)|
|EK230||Daily||17:10||19:45 (+1 day)|
Dubai (DXB) to Seattle (SEA)
Orlando has one daily flight to Dubai operated with a Boeing 777-200LR.
Orlando (MCO) to Dubai (DXB)
|EK220||M/W/F||13:20||12:20 (+1 day)|
Dubai (DXB) to Orlando (MCO)
Boston has two daily flights to Dubai operated with a Boeing 777-300ER.
Boston (BOS) to Dubai (DXB)
|EK238||Daily||22:20||19:35 (+1 day)|
|EK240||Daily||10:55||08:10 (+1 day)|
Dubai (DXB) to Boston (BOS)
Chicago has one daily flight to Dubai operated with a Boeing 777-300ER.
Chicago (ORD) to Dubai (DXB)
|EK236||Daily||19:40||19:10 (+1 day)|
Dubai (DXB) to Chicago (ORD)
Other Destinations Served by Emirates with the Airbus A380
Although this list doesn’t provide detailed timetables for service, here are several other cities that Emirates serves with the A380 from its hub in Dubai. The Middle East is a fascinating region, but it is likely you’ll be connecting onward to your final destination.
|Europe||Asia and the South Pacific||India, Africa, and the Middle East|
|London (Heathrow)||Hong Kong||Jeddah|
Be aware that Emirates recently unveiled a two-cabin configuration of its A380 that omits first class. You can still expect to find a great lie-flat business-class seat and a bar on these planes, although premium-cabin capacity is reduced to 58 seats. Its current plans are to begin operating this configuration on some flights to Europe and Asia, including Copenhagen, Kuala Lumpur, London (Gatwick), and Bangkok.